Green Infrastructure (GI) refers to the use of plants and soils to clean and store stormwater so that cleaner water reaches the river, and less flooding occurs. The WRWC uses as many GI practices in our projects and programs as possible, often using the skills of our very own River Rangers. GI can include things like rain gardens, green roofs, bioswales and more. We see these practices as a way to build more resilient communities around the Woonasquatucket River. Our GI practices capture and clean water before it reaches the river, engage the community to learn more, and bring partners together to broaden our impact!

For more information:
Alicia Lehrer

Green Infrastructure Tour


Take a self-guided tour of GI starting right on the Woonasquatucket River Greenway! Begin at Riverside Park, and follow the signs to learn more about each practice on the Greenway and around Olneyville.

GI Practices & Projects

Greening the Greenway
The Woonasquacket River Greenway could be considered one giant GI practice, and we are connecting as many GI practices along the Greenway as possible! You can already visit green roofs, rain gardens, community food gardens, a bioswale, meadow buffers and more on your next trip up the Greenway!

Also, look for new, innovative GI projects that also create protected bike lanes along San Souci and the downtown river in Providence. We’ll use bioswales, vegetated buffers, and more to protect riders in these busy areas while still cleaning storm water on its way to the river. There is no reason that all new street, sidewalk and bridge projects can’t also include GI and promote “Green & Complete Streets!”

Parking Lot Retrofits
Check out our projects like Citizens Bank in Providence and Greystone Mill Social Club in Johnston. We work with these groups and others to turn solid parking lot surfaces into drivable sponges that will soak up more storm water – slowing, filtering, and cleaning it before it reaches the river.

Homeowner Retrofits
The WRWC partners with neighbors to retrofit driveways and walkways in a similar way to parking lots – creating more permeable surfaces yard by yard. We also work with homeowners to retrofit gutter downspouts to feed into rain barrels, rain gardens, rain boxes and existing yards.

Tree Filters
Systems like these combine engineered structures with living trees to clean dirty storm water. Watch public streets like Manton Avenue (part of our Greenway) and Pleasant Valley Parkway in Providence become shadier, cooler, more beautiful and able to soak up more stormwater. City streets create some of the most polluted water heading toward the river. We are adding structures like tree filters to do the heavy lifting, cleaning storm water from these streets before they reach the river.

Green Infrastructure Showcase Riverside Park

This video was prepared by John Berard for the RI Green Infrastructure Coalition and featured at the 2020 Stormwater Innovation Expo on November 19, 2020. It is the story of Riverside Park and the Green Infrastructure Showcase! Riverside Park is a hub for exciting innovation – once a contaminated Brownfield site, and now a beautiful, active park surrounded by native pollinator plants, bioswales and rain gardens, and much more!

Citizens Bank Project

Installation of new green infrastructure at Citizens Bank, next to the Woonasquatucket River.

Before and during the work:

Drone image of the Citizens Bank parking lot with the Green Infrastructure being installedDrone image of the Citizens Bank parking lot with the Green Infrastructure work underway

Drone image of the Citizens Bank parking lot with the new Green InfrastructureThe sidewalk and adjacent plantings

Aerial photographs courtesy of RIDOT.

The River Rangers putting in the plants:

Community Outreach

Community Outreach

Climate resiliency begins with our neighbors knowing how floods effect their homes, property and loved ones. The WRWC provides information to neighborhood groups, renters, homeowners, and businesses on what the future of flooding may look like in the watershed and how to best prepare. This is critical information for our most sensitive communities who may not have the resources to relocate in the event of catastrophe. Contact us for more information.


The WRWC works closely with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) to put projects in the watershed. We both have the same goals – cleaner water and safer communities, so we help each other.

We are also a founding acting member of the Green Infrastructure Coalition, tying WRWC into a growing network of groups making a difference on storm water in Rhode Island.